Irish edition books in the USA Kindle store

Irish edition books in the USA Kindle store

I pay some attention to the number books in languages other than English in the USA Kindle store.

It’s possible my  curiosity about that is enhanced because our adult kid is a linguist.:)

Still, it sometimes seems strange to me which languages have more books.

I decided to take a look at how many books said they were “Irish editions”:

Kindle Store : Kindle eBooks : Foreign Languages : Other Languages : Irish : (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Turned out there was a grand total of…16.

There are 106 “Swahili edition” books.

There are over 133,000 “Spanish edition” books.


I went to (the United Kingdom store) and there were 131 results.

That brings up a question I see a lot on the Amazon Kindle forums: “Why can’t I buy books from” or one of the other sites.

People don’t see the reason why they shouldn’t be able to buy e-books from any of the sites…they can buy p-books (paperbooks) from the UK site, for example.

Well, it has to do with copyright…and with how digital sales are evaluated.

Most (but not quite all) countries in the world recognize in some way the ability of an author to control the use of their created works (within certain limitations).

The author traditionally then licenses the works to publishers, who sell it to the public.

Those rights are normally licensed by format and by market (which could be an individual country, but might be more).

So, it could be that Publisher A licensed the e-book rights for XYZ book in England, and Publisher B licensed the e-book rights for that same book, XYZ, for the USA.

If Publisher A crosses the territories and sells the book in the USA, they’ve violated the agreement…and could be in big trouble.

“But,” you say, “you mentioned people buying p-books intended for Britain in the USA…how does that work?”

Basically, the p-book sale is considered to have taken place where the store is. The store might need an export license, but they could send it to you.

Remember that the publisher didn’t sell the book to someone in the USA…the store did. The publisher did not sell it outside of their licensed market.

With e-books, though, the sale is generally considered to have taken place where the purchaser is.

If a publisher who is supposed to be selling to England sells an e-book to someone in the USA, they’ve crossed territories.

That’s the main difference between e-books and p-books on this.

How do they know where you live?

They might judge it on where your credit card is processed. They can do it other ways, and yes, sometimes they are wrong about it.

You can change your country setting at

under Settings.

I wouldn’t do that unless you are actually living in that other country, though. I wouldn’t want to be committing fraud by misrepresenting where I was. They could likely figure that out if nothing else matches the country in which you say you live.

Another issue can be “public domain”. Not all countries have the same copyright term. A book which is in the public domain (owned by the public…not under copyright protection) in Australia (like George Orwell’s 1984) may not be in the USA. That particular book created quite a problem for Amazon, when a version intended for Australia was accidentally made available to Americans…and then Amazon took it back from people.

I think their intentions were good, and they compensated people more than they had originally paid for it (and they promised never t do it again). There are people who are still soured on Amazon over it, though, so you can imagine what it might be like if Amazon didn’t make good faith efforts to sell the books in the proper markets.

I do think the selling of global rights is becoming much more common (even though it might cost the publisher more initially), so this may become less of an issue over time.

Bain sult as!

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.



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